Companies nowadays are now involved in deceptive marketing strategies in order to lure customers towards their products. Colgate Palmolive did the same and now it has to pay a hefty price for deceptive marketing.
The Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) has imposed a fine of Rs. 10 million on the toothpaste manufacturing company for running a deceptive marketing campaign to promote its product Max All Purpose Cleaner (Max APC).
The deceptive marketing campaign run by Colgate violated Section 10 of the Competition Act 2010. A formal complaint against the campaign was lodged by Colgate’s main competitor Reckitt Benckiser (RB), manufacturer of Dettol, a direct competitor to Max APC. RB pointed out that Colgate made four claims in its campaign which were later found out to be untrue by the CCP.
In its campaign, Colgate said that Max APC has 24 hours long lasting freshness, it protects from cold and flu, food poisoning, and skin infections, it is 99.9% bacteria free, and kills 99.9% bacteria from surfaces which makes the floor surface shiny and germ-free. On top of that, Colgate also made a disclaimer that said that all these claims were made after laboratory testing with concentrate usage.
Not only did Colgate used a deceptive marketing campaign, it also harmed the business interest of RB by issuing a trade letter to discredit Dettol through comparative claims. All the four specific claims made by Colgate were found to be deceptive by the CCP bench at the hearing. The CCP bench comprised of Vadiyya Khalil, Chairman CCP, and member Ikram Ul Haque Qureshi.
The bench said that the campaign was harming the interest of RB and other competitors as Colgate could not justify its deceptive marketing campaign. The company was asked not to indulge in any such activities in the future and remove all the deceptive marketing claims from its Max APC campaign.
This is not the first time that any company has been fined by the CCP for deceptive marketing campaign. P&G Pakistan was fined Rs. 10 million last month for advertising its product Safeguard as the “No. 1 rated anti-bacterial soap in Pakistan.” Even in this case, the CCP received a formal complaint from Reckitt Benckiser as there was no substantial evidence given by P&G for this claim.